Education, Business and Industry Outlook Receive Enthusiastic Response at the August 2012 Elite Meetings Alliance

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The August 2012 Elite Meetings Alliance (EMA), held August 26-28, 2012, at the brand-new Revel in Atlantic City elicited an enthusiastic response from the 200 meeting planners, hoteliers and suppliers in attendance.

...this old fossil found the event one of the top five I have walked away from in 30 years. I believe I walked away with around 1,400 tentative room nights and 2100 in new prospects.

The August 2012 Elite Meetings Alliance (EMA), held August 26-28, 2012, at the brand-new Revel in Atlantic City (http://www.elitemeetings.com/property/revel-atlantic-city/) elicited an enthusiastic response from the 200 meeting planners, hoteliers and suppliers in attendance. This EMA—the seventeenth and largest to date—included over 1,300 prescheduled appointments, plus educational sessions that enjoyed strong participation from those looking to earn CMP credits, enhance their industry knowledge, and return home with new contacts and business commitments.

Education on the Agenda
One particularly well-received session addressed the hot-button issue of “lead spam,” a reference to a “shotgun” approach to distributing Requests for Proposals (RFPs) to a large number of suppliers competing to win the same business. Nearly 60 percent of the attending planners surveyed said they’d been unaware of the problems associated with excessive RFP submissions. Poor-quality leads and those with a low percentage of success create enormous inefficiencies and costs for the industry.

The panel discussion encouraged an informative exchange between buyers and sellers to examine the challenges and opportunities presented by online RFPs. During the session, EMI also introduced its own solutions that encourage more informed and efficient sourcing, which have resulted in an industry-low average of just 5.8 hotels per RFP. EMI’s education and streamlining measures have already resulted in a win-win for both suppliers and buyers, who save countless hours and enjoy better-quality responses from those hotels most likely to meet their criteria.

CEO Kelly Foy of Elite Meetings International (EMI), the company behind the Elite Meetings Alliance, said, “We were thrilled with the enthusiasm and participation from buyers, suppliers, and the team at Revel. We were especially pleased to shed some light on the issue of eRFPs and the problems posed by casting too wide a net when sourcing hotels. The EMA, along with our magazines and EliteMeetings.com, give us some great vehicles to educate and assist with issues like this that are hampering the industry.”

Meeting planner Iesha Walker of Calgene described the seminars as “informative and useful.” She added, “I learned so much. The RFP seminar was great and helped me to understand the hotelier’s point of view. I will be putting all that I learned to use.”

Additional educational sessions included such topics as legal essentials by attorney Joshua Grimes, interactive technology by Midori Connolly, and stress management for busy professionals by Dr. Jerry Teplitz. A keynote address by Vince Papale, former Philadelphia Eagle and subject of the movie “Invincible,” offered an inspiring message to attendees on Day Two of the event.

Strength in Numbers
Beyond education, the EMA provided a highly productive forum for business. Statistics from the event bode well for future meetings industry business.

  •     95% of planners and 97% of suppliers indicated they would book business with someone they met at the EMA.
  •     45% of planners anticipate a larger budget for meetings in 2013, while just 3% said their budgets would shrink.
  •     63% of hoteliers said their group business outlook will improve in 2013, while just 9% said it would decline.
  •     85% of meeting planners said they will have the same or more meetings in 2013 than in 2012.

Ed Svitak of Grand Geneva Resort gave the event high praise, saying, “...this old fossil found the event one of the top five I have walked away from in 30 years. I believe I walked away with around 1,400 tentative room nights (April 2013 and April 2014) as well as another 2,100 room nights in new prospects.”

Corporate Social Responsibility and Team Building
In addition to education and business meetings, the EMA included time to network while doing good. The final day included a trip to the Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City (http://www.acbgc.org) to help the children create bulletin boards and say goodbye to summer with a dance party. The EMA also continued its alliance with Clean the World, an organization that recycles, sanitizes, and distributes soaps and shampoos to those in need.

The wildly popular Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp (http://www.rockcamp.com) gave attendees opportunities to forge new relationships while rewriting and performing classic rock songs in one-night-only rock bands. Performances took place at Revel’s Ovation Hall, the same venue used by such superstar performers as Beyoncé, Kanye West, Stone Temple Pilots and the Eagles.

About the Elite Meetings Alliance (EMA)
The EMA is a three-day, invitation-only event that brings together prequalified corporate and association planners with leaders in the luxury hotel industry to cultivate relationships and build business. It centers on private, personalized business development meetings, continuing education breakout sessions for CMP credit, and unique networking activities.

About Elite Meetings International
Based in Santa Barbara, Elite Meetings International (EMI) provides free, time-saving tools for planners and integrated marketing solutions to suppliers that enhance the connection of meeting and hospitality professionals. EMI supports this community through a combination of innovative technology, direct sales support, customized marketing programs and face-to-face business-building events. Additionally, http://www.EliteMeetings.com serves as a comprehensive vehicle for sourcing luxury, upper-upscale and upscale properties. EMI's innovations include FaceTime™ Appointment Scheduler (http://www.FaceTimeScheduler.com) a sought-after program for helping conference attendees identify synergies, manage appointments and make direct connections with one another; and SpeedRFP™ (http://www.SpeedRFP.com), a new time-saving product for creating, submitting, and managing RFPs online. For additional information, please visit http://www.EliteMeetings.com or call 805-730-1000.

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Karen Cahll
Elite Meetings International
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